News / South Africa

Gosebo Mathope
2 minute read
7 Feb 2018
11:53 am

It’s business as usual for the ruling party as the Zuma cliffhanger remains

Gosebo Mathope

The morning after last night, the ANC wants you to focus on the centennial celebrations, and not Zuma's expected exit.

ANC delegates celebrate during the nominations at the ANC's 54th National Elective Conference at Nasrec, Johannesburg, on 17 December 2017. The ANC gathers to elect new leadership, including a new party president for which Cyril Ramaphosa and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma are the candidates. Picture: Yeshiel Panchia

It all started on Sunday night when news broke that Zuma had refused to resign and told national leaders who visited him at his Pretoria presidential guesthouse that their basis for asking him to do so were flaky.

By the next day the ruling party was not refuting these reports, but instead scrambling to get its national working committee (NWC) to an emergency meeting at Luthuli House where pandaemonium broke outside between ANC and BLF members.

By that evening the ruling party announced it had convened a special NEC meeting to deal with the “transition” quagmire between the 5th and 6th administrations. Communications manager Khusela Diko told reporters the ANC was enthusiastic to resolve the impasse, as it was creating unnecessary anxiety in the country.

By Tuesday morning, reports circulated that President Jacob Zuma had called an emergency Cabinet meeting. Not true, said Cabinet spokesperson Phumla Williams. This was a scheduled Cabinet subcommittee meeting in preparation for the Sona and Cabinet meeting to place next week.

By the evening, freshly-minted spokesperson Pule Mabe announced that after a “fruitful” meeting at Genandendal, Zuma’s official residence in the Mother City, between party president Cyril Ramaphosa and Zuma, the scheduled special NEC meeting planned to take place today had been cancelled.

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Secretary-general Ace Magashule also confirmed this, saying he arrived at the meeting just after 4pm, where he was excused and invited back in towards the end. The two leaders were satisfied with the agreement they had reached. The NEC was pushed to the 17/18 February 2018.

There is no word on who will address state of the nation address, and no indication if the ruling party plans to remove Zuma as the president. In fact, the Presidency was quick on the uptake when fake reports surfaced of Number One’s intention to remove Ramaphosa and replace him with NEC member, MP and failed presidential hopeful Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

Instead, Africa’s oldest liberation would rather inform South Africans about “the launch of the celebrations of the centennial year in honour of Isithwalandwe/Seaparankoe, Comrade President Nelson Mandela on Sunday, 11 February 2018 at the Grand Parade, Cape Town”.

This will be exactly 28 years since Mandela was released from Victor Verster prison in 1990. In the lead-up to the big event, national officials “will visit families of former leaders of our movement, monuments in remembrance of fallen heroes of our struggle as well as the faith-based communities”.

The leaders will also “undertake meetings to engage on the water crisis in the Western Cape and other engagements with various other sectors in our society”, where “members of the media are invited to cover the programme of the National Officials on Friday, 9th February 2018”.

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